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Have the Housing Works Thrift Stores Lost Their Magic?

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Image via <a href="http://www.housingworks.org/">Housing Works</a>
Image via Housing Works

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Nobody would deny that Housing Works, which sells gently used clothing and furniture and uses the proceeds to help the homeless, is a genuinely worthy institution. We've even got the Chelsea location on our list of the 38 best stores in the city. But recently, a longtime shopper emailed us suggesting that the selection at various Housing Works shops has started to go downhill.

Her email is below, but first, some crucial background information: Our reader lives in LA but comes to New York often and tries to hit as many Housing Works as she can whenever she's here. Chelsea, Tribeca, and Murray Hill are her favorite locations.

I've been going to Housing Works for years and I used to find some of the most amazing things for so cheap, i.e. 2002 Calvin Klein dress (the very one I saw in an LA Times review of Calvin Klein back when I was a student and had been dreaming about since!) for $80, a Nanette Lepore skirt for $35, a Zero + Maria Cornejo sweater for $20, a DVF vintage wrap dress for $70, and a Marc Jacobs t-shirt dress for $80, to name a few. However, it seems that every time I go there, the prices are getting steeper and the selection scanty.
For instance, when I was there last week, I found absolutely nothing in any of the stores. In plenty of stock were some moldy bridesmaids' dresses starting at $100!
So what gives? Have people been shopping their closets so much in this recession that donations have been low, or have people gotten wind of how great HW is that the stores have been pillaged before I even get there? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
The conventional wisdom on the recession says that it's actually been great for consignment and thrift shops, since people are so much more eager to buy at a discount. So if we had to guess, we'd say that more demand equals higher prices and more pillaging. That said, we're wondering if anyone else has noticed a change. Let us know in the comments.
· The Racked 38 [Racked NY]
· All Housing Works coverage [Racked NY]
· Housing Works [Official Site]

Housing Works Thrift Shop - Chelsea

143 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 (718) 838-5050 Visit Website

Housing Works Chelsea

143 W 17th Street, New York NY